Foreign tourists found self-isolating in Indian cave
The group lived in a cave near Rishikesh, a town (pictured above) in Uttarakhand state in northern India made famous by The Beatles, for nearly a month before they were found by the police and quarantined at an ashram on Sunday, according to a police official.
The tourists — four men and two women from France, Turkey, Ukraine, the United States and Nepal — were initially staying at a hotel, but ran out of money and took refuge in the cave, said Mukesh Chand, spokesperson for Uttarakhand police.
“They had been living in the cave since March 24, the police found them on Sunday and moved them to Swarg Ashram near Rishikesh, we have asked them to self-quarantine for two weeks as a precaution but the group seemed healthy,” Chand told CNN.
The group were rationing their remaining money to buy food and other items, he added.
Indian and foreign tourists have been banned from entering the state of Uttarakhand since March 20 due to the coronavirus outbreak, according to a state government order.
India is the world’s second most populous country and the fifth biggest economy, and there are fears that the country’s health systems would not be able to cope with a major outbreak of the virus.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a nationwide lockdown on March 24, which came into effect from midnight.
Since that time only essential services have been operational in the nation of 1.3 billion people, including water, electricity, health care, fire services, grocery stores and municipal services.
The measures were set to expire on April 14 but Modi later extended them until at least May 3.
Authorities launched a website called “Stranded in India” to provide aid to foreigners stuck in the country during the nationwide lockdown.
India has recorded 17,615 cases of coronavirus and 559 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
CNN’s Manveena Suri and Helen Regan contributed to this report.